Burnett Tops Kellys

“Campy, lascivious, chic, almost naughty.”
That’s how Leo Burnett creative director Steffan Postaer describes the Chicago agency’s “Curiously strong mints” ads for Callard & Bowser/Suchard’s Altoids. Last week the campaign won the Magazine Publishers of America’s Kelly Award for General Excellence in magazine advertising. Sharing the $100,000 prize with Postaer are creative director Mark Faulkner, art director Noel Han and copywriter Kit Cramer.
After persuading the client several years ago to pursue advertising for what Postaer called “this great, cultish brand,” the agency started with simple outdoor boards and transit posters. Only last year did the client cautiously make the jump to national magazines.
Having built sales of Altoids by “being unconventional in conventional places, it was a tough decision to take [the campaign] to mainstream media,” said Patrick Willis, senior account executive at Burnett. He credited media supervisor Sarah Cheek for devising a media plan that mirrored the creative style with unexpected media placements.
Keeping the “idiosyncratic edge” in the creative work has been fun, “but a lot harder than it looks,” Postaer said. Burnett creatives offer headline suggestions almost daily, “but Mark and I consider ourselves the guardians of this special, endangered species [of a brand].”